Flute Lessons

Parent Q&A

  • Hello,

    My 10 year old daughter would like to start learning the flute this fall. She is a total beginner, with next to no music experience. We are looking for something in the El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley area on Saturday afternoons. The catch is affordability. I get that music lessons tend to be expensive, but I am hoping to keep the price reasonable, especially as this is really just a casual hobby for her, not something she plans to pursue at a more serious level. We're really just looking for a fun introduction to the flute, music in general, and musicianship, without a lot of pressure, heavy duty commitment, or huge financial investment. Is this an unrealistic expectation? All advice welcome!  

    Hi!  I understand that your daughter does not intend to become a professional musician, but in my experience taking up a new instrument successfully requires consistent practice and weekly lessons. It's like learning a new language: frequent practice is key to reaching a point where one can actually produce the right sounds (to make a melody, or to express yourself in words).  So whatever you do, you should find your 10-year-old a teacher whom she'll see weekly.

    As it happens, our child's piano teacher is primarily a flutist, and at least half her pupils study flute with her.  After five years, we couldn't be happier with her, and we also consider her fees for weekly half-hour lessons to reasonable. Her studio is located opposite Live Oak Park in North Berkeley, and her name is Jane Webber.  You can reach her at JWebber.music [at] gmail.com (she's very good about checking her emails). 

    P.S. If your daughter is not away for the whole summer, I suggest started before school starts up again.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Flute lessons for first grader

Aug 2015

Hi, my first grader is asking to learn the flute. I would love for her to learn to play an instrument, and I am fine with her choice. Any advice or recommendations on flute teachers/lessons in the Berkeley area is much appreciated. Thank you! zmt

Laura Scarlata, Crowden Music School is a wonderful flute teacher. While I know she enjoys students of all ages, I do sense that she especially loves working with children. Oakland Parent

My son had flute lessons with Kristin Davidman, both in his after school program and privately at her home in Berkeley. She teaches song flute to younger kids and silver flute when they are ready for it. Her lessons were fun, and she schedules several performances during the year, e.g. playing Christmas carols at Ardenwood, with the Community Women's Orchestra, etc. My son has moved on (he plays banjo now), but I couldn't recommend Kristin more highly. You'll find other reviews of her in the archives. (510) 848-2268, kdavidman [at] comcast.net Kevin

Hello: I want to recommend Anette Skloot for flute- and piano lessons. She is amazing, she has so much energy towards the students. My daughter awaits for the lesson's day, I am amazed with the energy Anette has, always bringing my daughter back to the activity with fun and care. My daughter has advanced quit some with the piano. I have taken a couple of flute lessons myself! such rewarding activity. Anette Skloot: 510-517-9208

Flute teacher for 5th grader?

March 2014

I am looking for a flute teacher for my daughter, el cerrito/richmond/berkeley area. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Sara

Jane Webber (North Berkeley) has been my 5th grade daughter's flute teacher for the past two years. She's an excellent teacher with high standards for her students who also manages to be warm, caring and a lot of fun. My daughter loves the flute because of Jane. I highly recommend her. You can reach her at 510- 841-6111 or jwebber.music [at] gmail.com mom of a happy flutist

Looking for a flute teacher for 3rd grader

Sept 2012

My daughter is interested in learning to play flute. She has been taking piano lessons for 3 years and can read music. We're in upper Rockridge area and can go to the teacher's studio or teacher can come to our house but prefer teacher coming to our house for lessons. Please recommend if you know of a good flute teacher or if you teach flute. Thanks! Kay

My daughter loves taking lessons from Deborah Schmidt, who has been her teacher for six years. She is very kind and encouraging to children in the early grades, often starting them on recorder until they're ready for flute. Her students often stay with her through high school because of her warm personality as well as her excellent instruction, and are among the best in their school orchestras as a result. She teaches in the North Berkeley - Albany area, which might be a long trip for you, but well worth it. Her home number is (510)-785-9022. Chris

I would like to highly recommend Sarah Holzman for your 3rd graders flute lessons. Not only is she highly experienced teaching flute to children (both through private lessons and in schools) she is also a professional flute player, performing in symphonies and chamber groups. We are lucky that she has just relocated from SF to Berkeley and is now taking students in Berkeley. She has a home studio in the Berkeley HIlls. Her number is 415 505-2062. Carrie

I would like to recommend Laura Scarlata, who is a flutist on the faculty at Crowden, and has a home studio in El Sobrante. I have observed her teaching recorder and music appreciation at my son's preschool and can attest to her enthusiasm and patience. She teaches flute to children and adults and can be reached at lscarlata [at] yahoo.com. You can check her Crowden bio at http://www.crowden.org/CCMC/Faculty/LauraScarlata.htm Lisa

I second the previous recommendation for Laura Scarlata. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and she is a seemingly endless source of good advice and instruction. Flutist Parent

Looking for East Bay flute and recorder teacher

Feb 2011

We are considering either flute or recorder lessons for our kids (and possibly for me, too). Does anyone have recommendations to offer? We're in the Albany/El Cerrito/Berkeley area. Thanks! Sara

My daughter took flute lessons from Eileen Hadidian in Albany -- she is an excellent teacher and very attentive to the student's learning style. Her email is ehmuse [at] comcast.net Shelley

Annette Bauer, based in Oakland, fantastic musician and lovely person; contact her via the lessons link on www.sacrecorders.org musician friend

In response to your question wanting to find a flute or recorder teacher for children and possibly yourself, I would like to give you the contact information of a wonderful flute teacher, who is accepting new students. Natalia received her flute training at UCLA (with an additional degree in psychology), and has been performing with two local orchestras, teaching privately and at a performing arts camp. She is a talented young woman, graceful, kind and patient, who I can whole-heartedly recommend. Local references available upon request. Natalia Kaminska-Palarczyk, 510-910-2722, or by e-mail: nataliakapa [at] gmail.com ym

Looking for inspiring and talented flute teacher

Nov 2010

We're looking for recommendations for a flute teacher who can really inspire and connect with kids, and who also has excellent technical skills. interested parent

I highly recommend Caroline Reutter in Oakland. (510) 482-5214. She is a wonderfully talented muscian and experienced teacher with a vivacious personality and a genuine gift for helping and inspiring her students.

My 10-year-old daughter began playing flute at her elementary school last year. She had a very hard time getting started. It was difficult for her to produce a note and she became so discouraged that she almost quit after the first few weeks. One day, Caroline visited the school to work with the new flute players. My daughter was so excited that afternoon when I picked her up from school. She told me all about Caroline and how helpful she was and then asked me if she could please take lessons with Caroline. My daughter now loves playing the flute and has accomplished so much during the past year. She plays beautifully, is enthusiastic about practicing, and regularly puts on ''concerts'' for me at home. She was a featured soloist at school band concerts throughout the past year. My daughter adores Caroline and looks forward to her weekly lessons. She tells me that Caroline is very good at explaining things to her, like how to play certain notes or rhythms. From what I have observed, Caroline is patient and kind, but at the same time, she likes to challenge her students and keep them working hard.

My older daughter, who has been playing flute for three years now, has also taken some lessons from Caroline and learned a lot from them. Caroline has helped her to challenge herself with more complicated pieces of music. Karen G.

I highly recommend Caroline Reutter as a flute teacher. She is extremely qualified, classically trained, and has studied with the Principal Flutist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Her classes are enjoyable as well as interesting and challenging. She teaches all ages and is just wonderful and easy-going. My daughter started lessons with her 6 years ago in Berkeley. Since then, Caroline has moved to the Oakland/Piedmont area. My daughter is now 19 and still enjoys her flute lessons, which now consist of high level duets, classical etude studies, and famous solo pieces (of exquisite sound!). The drive from Hercules to Piedmont for lessons every week is well worth it. Through CarolineC,bs wonderful teaching, my daughter held the 1st chair flute position all through high school in the symphonic band and has continued with playing into college. She can be reached at (510) 482-5214 or (510) 717-5981. Barbara S.

I highly recommend Stacey Pelinka. She plays professionally and is a talented and experienced instructor. She teaches in Berkeley and will be taking new students starting in February. http://www.staceypelinka.com/flute.html info [at] staceypelinka.com | 415.509.5613 best wishes

Flute teacher for 10-year-old

April 2010

Hello, Can anyone out there recommend a good flute teacher? IC,bm looking for one for my 10-year daughter who has been playing for almost two years. Her current teacher is relocating to another state. I checked the BPN website and the posts seem a little outdated. Any recommendations are appreciated. Thank you. Flute Mom

Definitely try Albany Music School (on San Pablo, just opposite El Cerrito Plaza).

I have known the director for several years. She teaches flute and piano and she's incredibly sweet/patient with kids and she's very prepared technically.

My kids simply love her: she has a wonderful way to communicate music theory and teach practice to children, while holding their attention in a fun way (so progress is fast and effortless).

They teach piano, voice, flute, violin, guitar and drums and they offer group classes for small kids (age 3-5) and private lessons for everybody else (including adults).

9825 San Pablo Ave, 2nd floor (opposite El Cerrito Plaza) El Cerrito, CA 94530 Tel. 510-528-4047 web: www.albanymusicschool.com E-mail: info [at] albanymusicschool.com Jack Jack

Flute Lessons for 11-year old

Sept 2009

Looking for a flute teacher for beginning lessons for 11-year old. Thanks! Emma

I highly recommend Matt Morrish at Musically Minded. This guy is funny, personable, and very skilled both as a musician and teacher. The studio has a lot of other teachers too on other instruments. Matt is a gem. Check him out. 510 428 4094. www.musicallyminded.com, admin [at] musicallyminded.com. Matt's fan

I'd like to highly recommend Annete Skloot. She was my flute teacher when I first started. Her cell phone # is 510-517-9208. She's a delightful teacher, patient, and good with kids! rosie

I would recommend Jane Webber in Berkeley, near Live Oak Park - 510-841-6111, voice mail - 510-761-6116, email: jwebber.music [at] gmail.com. My daughter has taken lessons with Jane for the past 7 years, since she was 7 years old, and we have been very happy. Jane is great with kids - patient and kind - and I would highly recommend her. MK

Flute teacher for 15-year-old

Jan 2009

Our daughter would like to resume her study of flute with a private teacher. She's played for about two years now and has taken a break of about a year. We're in North Berkeley - our daughter is fifteen, attends BHS, and is a sweet, thoughtful student who really loves the flute. We've checked the archives but the recommendations are a bit old, and we'd love either an update or a new recommendation. And since we're on the subject, does anyone know of a small band that needs a flute player? Many thanks...

I can wholeheartedly recommend Katie Triest as a teacher for your daughter. She teaches both piano and flute from in her home in North Berkeley. Our daughter took piano lessons from her and we found her both a supportive coach and a skilled teacher. You can reach her by phone at 510-525-8298. bt

My daughter recently started using Carol Alban as a flute teacher (she was referred by another family) and we all think she's great. She is Principal Flutist with the Bay Area Chamber Symphony. Composes her own music and is active in lots of local events. She often has her students participate in performances. Her email is carolalban [at] aol.com Good luck. Pamela

Preparatory Music program at the Holy Names University has been our resource for many years for both private instruction and small band/orchestra, for our two daughters. Cathy DeVos is a great, very experienced flute instructor there for private lessons. Also, the new Winds Orchestra is being formed right now and auditions are at 9am on January 24. You don't need to show a great performance for these auditions, but just to ascertain the level you're starting at. The orchestras get regular chance to be part of larger music concerts at the Regents Theater, perform at Dunsmuir Mansion at Christmas time etc. For more information, please call Catherine Baird at (510) 436-1224; baird [at] hnu.edu. The place is located right off Redwood Road exit of HW 13 (a 10 min drive from Berkeley). Maria

Bob Giles is an excellent & patient flute and guitar teacher he is located in Albany and gives private lessons, near Solano Ave 510-558-0222 www.bobgilesart.com/ Sharyl

My son has been studying flute with Jane Lenoir, a truly incredible flute teacher who lives in North Berkeley. Jane is an amazing musician and an inspiring teacher. She is very positive, caring and upbeat, but the thing I appreciate most about her is how she instills in the students a love of music of all kinds. She is classically trained (Oberlin), but is an accomplished jazz flutist as well. She has my son playing Brazilian choro and Celtic music as well as classical. She's great with kids- has raised two sons and is well aware of the pressures on teens- and is understanding while always helping the student move to the next level. Her website is www.janelenoir.com., and cell phone is: 415-260-8111. I think she currently has a couple teens from BHS Jazz Band as students. Debbie

I know a fabulous musician who is a flutist. He teaches near the North Berkeley BART station. He teaches flute and several other instruments, but his first instrument is flute. His name is Ernie Mansfield of Mansfield Music. I highly recommend him. He is very competent and attentive to the students he teaches. He can be reached at 510-524-2055. Leah

I highly recommend Kristin Brooks Davidman as a flute teacher. She taught my daughter and several of her friends. My daughter loved her. Kristin is very supportive and encouraging. She is not a ''crack the whip'' type teacher. She has recitals in her home at the holidays so all her students can play for each other. She teaches all ages, including adults. She's on Parker St. in Berkeley, here's her phone number (510) 848-2268. N.L.

Flute teacher for 10-year-old

Nov 2007

Hi, I'm looking for flute teacher for my 10 year old son. He has been playing in his school's ''band'' program for over a year and taking occasional lessons from his aunt. His aunt thinks that he would really benefit from some regular one on one or small session lessons. He gets frustrated with his lack of progression at times, loses confidence and then his desire plummets. My husband and I are completely unmusical and will have a difficult time assessing the qualifications of a teacher, so I could use some help on that aspect. I am also looking for candid comments about specific teachers not just ''We think he/she is great''. What kind of teacher are they? How do they motivate their students, etc. You can e-mail me directly if you prefer not to have your comments on the public forum. We live in Kensington so North Berkeley, Albany and El Cerrito would be our preferred locations. Thanks in advance!

I want to recommend Jenny Holland, my child's piano teacher who also teaches flute and guitar. She is truly gifted. What I have found remarkable about her is her ability to responsively and flexibly tailor her teaching style and curriculum to my child's interests and learning style. My child has been pretty resistant to learning how to read music, but loves to learn music by watching and listening and loves to play with music. So Jenny has taught her through her strengths, emphasizing imitation and improvisation, but still teaching her classical technique, theory, musicianship, and composition. I can see that translating all this knowledge into written form will be my child's last, rather than first, step. Through talking with other parents whose children study with Jenny, I have learned that she takes a different approach with each student and really shines with creative students. Jenny was the music teacher at a small private elementary school for almost twenty years, so s! he really knows teaching as well as music, and she is fluent in many musical genres including classical, western folk, jazz, rock, and world music, another plus for motivating students. She teaches students of all ages in her home in Albany, charging $30 per half hour or $60 per hour. You can contact her at 510-524-9480. Good luck, Vicki

I would highly recommend Jane Webber as a flute teacher. Like you, neither my husband nor I are musically talented, but we have two children who are and we feel so fortunate to have found Jane. My daughter has been taking lessons from Jane for the past 5 years (she is now 12) and while I may not be musically knowledgable, I do know that she sounds great, loves her lessons and really loves music. Jane used to be a clinical social worker who worked with children and she really makes an effort to develop a relationship with the child. When I asked my daughter what she likes about Jane, she said that Jane really explains things well and is patient and kind. Music is such an important part of my daughter's life and I credit Jane with fostering her appreciation for and love of music. Jane is located in North Berkeley, near Live Oak park. MK

I would like to recommend may daughter's flute teacher, Jane Webber. She works out of a studio in North Berkeley and has taught flute to my daughter for the past nine years, beginning when she was a seven year old beginner. Her gentle yet thorough instruction has helped my daughter to grow into being the principal flute in her high school Symphonic Band, become a staff member on flute at Cazadero Music Camp and continue to love the instrument. Jane has always taught in an age-appropriate manner, which has helped my daughter maintain her love of music while attaining the skills necessary to perform more and more complex music. Feel free to contact me if you'd like more information, or contact Jane directly by e-mail at jwebber.music[at]gmail.com or by phone (510)841-6111. wen

Flute teacher for adult

Sept 2006

I am hoping to start playing the flute again. I played as a child and would like to start back up again as an adult. I am looking for a flute teacher in the East Bay. Any recommendations would be appreciated. The past BPNetwork advice on flute teachers is quite outdated. Thanks

We are having a good experience with a flute teacher in Moraga. Her name is Laura Marks, tel. (925) 631-1448. She was able to teach my 7-year-old how to play, very young for this instrument. She has gone out of her way to find pieces my daughter is interested in, and has good advice on renting and buying flutes. Good luck in your search cmr

My flute teacher, Carol Alban, teaches in the Piedmont Ave. area. She is a wonderful musician, and an excellent teacher. In addition, she is smart and funny and it makes taking lessons a pleasure! Her web site is: www.hometown.aol.com/flutesolo flute fan

Hi, I am also a child flutist who began playing again as an adult. Good luck! I have a recommendation -- Caroline. She lives in Berkeley, has been teaching a long time, and is very nice! Her number is 510-849-0587. Wendi

More Flute Teachers

June 2005

Please recommend a good flute teacher for a 10-year old girl. She has played at school and would like more individualized instruction. Someone who comes to my home in Orinda would be nice, but not essential. mary

If you'd consider driving to Richmond View (not too far off of San Pablo Dam Road, near Alvarado Park), call my partner, Jane Magid (510 233-3607). She's been a flute teacher in the after- school program at Head Royce for 16 years, and this year was teaching music in a Richmond elementary public school as well. She also teaches private students at home. She's friendly, experienced, fun, and students leave their lessons smiling, improved, and enthusiastic. Rebecca

March 2003

My 7 year old daughter is interested in taking flute lessons. I have looked at previous flute lesson recommendations, but they are several years old and don't address the issue of what age to start. That said, does anyone know what an appropriate age to start flute lessons would be (is 7 too young?), what are some of the difficulties your child has encountered (someone had said that it is difficult to get a note out in the beginning and that this could be very discouraging), any recommendations for good/affordable teachers in the Berkeley/El Cerrito area, and where can one buy or rent used flutes? Thanks. MK

My nine-year old is still taking lessons from Amelia Archer. She and a friend started together when they were almost seven. It's been wonderful. It isn't like an older child taking lessons. Sometimes we go for a few days without practicing and the improvement is slower, but Amelia is great with kids, and now my daughter is in the school band. Feel free to email if you want more information. Amelia teaches on Sat. at the Crowden School and on Sundays at her home in Oakland. Her email is ameliajarcher (at) yahoo.com and her phone number is 510/832-3452. Stefanie

I recommend Deborah Schmidt - she teaches both out of her home in El Sobrante, and out of Forrest's music on University. She can be reached at 758-9022. She's got a wonderful gentle way about her, and is an outstanding flutist - and is very experienced with kids. As for whether a seven-year old is too young.....it depends on the motivation level, the arm length, and other factors too hard to judge. I started flute at 8, but studied piano and recorder from age 6. Can your daughter blow sound out of glass bottles? Does she try? Is she easily frustrated, or does she perservere? Does she play recorder? Can she modulate her breath so it doesn't squeak? All of these will be factors in her success. Good luck! Julie

A flute can be too big for a seven year old to start with - it's a question of being able to easily reach the fingering as well as physically balance the weight of it in the air. You CAN start with a treble recorder (which is easily blown) and then move on to flute, or start with a piccolo. If you are in the Berkeley school district, it's not a bad idea to start with flute before the official school instrumental music program starts (at 9 or 10) because flutes have to learn to play in the key of Bflat to keep in with the other band instruments, and many of them struggle at it. On the other hand, a GENERAL early music program (where they learn to read, sing, recognize melodies and harmonies etc) is a hugely valuable first step towards successfully learning an instrument and very appropriate for this age. fiona hamer

I am a flute teacher and love to work with young beginners! Seven is definitely not too early to start! Email me, and I'll give you my phone number so we can talk. (I have a studio in North Berkeley.) Jane Webber jwebber (at) pacbell.net

My daughter started flute at age seven about 6 months ago. One teacher we talked to said it was too young but we found one we like who is fine with it (in Walnut Creek, sorry). The beginning was very hard, but it was entirely my daughter's idea and that helped her keep going, though she did almost quit a couple times. Now she likes it a lot, but it's still challenging. The breathing, fingering, and even holding the flute are all physically challenging--I think if she had waited a year or two she would have made faster progress. You probably already know this but you can rent a curved neck flute-- essential for little ones because their arms just don't reach. You probably have to call around to find one--took me a few music stores. Deborah

Our 8-year-old daughter has started flute lessons this year. We have found a wonderful (and affordable) teacher, Jane Webber, who is teaching her once a week for 45 minutes. Our daughter very much enjoys studying with Jane and has made enormous progress within a short time. Getting a tone out can be hard in the beginning, but our daughter can already play a fairly big number of songs. Our daughter is very small for her age, so she has to use a curved head with her flute. Otherwise she would not be able to reach the keys. So far we have rented the flute from Best Musical Instrument in Oakland. They have good deals. We are about to buy a flute through the internet though. www.music123.com has very good deals. Often half of the list price. You can contact our teacher Jane Webber by phone (# 841- 6111) or internet (jwebber (at) pacbell.net). You can also call me, if you want to know more about our experience. Ute

November 2002

My nine-year-old daughter has decided to begin her musical career with flute lessons, so I'd like to inquire about great instructors in the area. We live near Claremont and College and she goes to school in El Cerrito, so either area would work. The few recommendations on the archives are quite old, so I'd really appreciate something current. Many thanks. Deborah

I live in El Sobrante and there is a flute and piano teacher a couple doors away from me. Her name is Valerie Morris, 510-222- 8442. If you can't make the drive to her place she may know someone closer to you. Larry

Amelia Archer is an excellent teacher for beginning flute students. She teaches at home and at the Crowden Music Center (Sacramento and Rose Streets) in Berkeley. She can be reached by email at ameliajarcher AT yahoo.com or by calling Crowden at 510.559.2941. Elisabeth

October 2002

My 10 year old home schooled daughter would like to learn to play flute. Knowing that beginning flute can be frustrating we'd like to find someone that is fun and can really turn her on to playing music. (I have looked at the mentions on the website but they seem dated) This would be in the Richmond - Berkeley area. Thanks. Paul

My son has really enjoyed his classes with Kristin Davidson. She's a Berkeley mom and musician that has taught in Berkeley afterschool classes for years. She usually has small classes and does private lessons. Give her a call at 848-2268. Good luck.

My sons, ages 5 and 8 really loved the summer music camp they attended at Berkeley Academy of Music (BAM). They are soon offering a Saturday morning class. They also give private lessons in piano, organ, brass, woodwinds, strings and voice. The directors are Naomi Sanchez and Stephen Varney, graduates of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Their resumes are impressive. My older son is currently taking trumpet lessons with one of their teachers (also with an impressive resume). Unlike before starting lessons, my son is now very motivated and excited to practice. They teach adults too. I think their rates are quite reasonable. The phone number is (415) 794-3260. Jill

My 9 yr. old daughter still is taking flute lessons from Amelia Archer, whom she loves. Amelia is young, fun, and she also codirects the woodwind orchestra, Arethusa, which my daughter hopes to be in next year. Amelia gives lessons out of her loft near Jack London Square or through the Sat. music program at the Crowden School in Berkeley, at Rose and Sacramento. Her number is 510/832-3452. Stefanie

I'd like to recommend my friend and college buddie Marta Rodriguez. She has many years experience teaching flute for children, and she's a very accomplished flautist herself, she's just great. Reach her at: flutevoice AT yahoo DOT com Have fun

We have a brilliant flute teacher for our 12 year old. This young woman was first flute at the Berlin Phil. and she is newly arrived from the Penninsula and in need of students of all ages. Plesas contact her directly: Caroline Reutter (510) 849-0587 -- jan

Re: the recommendation for Caroline Reutter in the last newsletter: We can't say enough good things about Caroline Reutter's flute instruction. She is patient and encouraging, yet challenges my daughter to stretch herself to try harder. If anyone has any questions about Caroline Reutter, please feel free to contact me directly. Thank you. Sharon G.

Jan-Feb 2000

For silver Flute teachers, my son had Susie Lorraine who teaches at home and out of Forest music. her # is 655-0599. She is the best and teaches sax, too. She is very well connected in the jazz world.

My daughter was a longtime student of Susie Laraine's. We recommend her as well. ~Anita

Sept 1998

Several list members have recently asked flute-related questions. Our talented friend Amy Cyr has recently graduated from the Indiana University School of Music and is available flute lessons for individuals and ensembles, as well as classes in world music appreciation. She teaches and performs many styles of music, including classical, band method, and world music. (Middle East, Central Eurasia, South India, Africa) She may be reached at 510/895-3023.


From: Cynthia

I learned some lessons when my own daughter took up flute for a year and then quit. First, I had a poor experience with Best Music in Oakland, and was then referred to House of Woodwinds (also in Oakland) by my daughter's flute teacher. While it was too late for the flute, we used them for clarinet repair and later a clarinet purchase and felt we got fair prices and good advice. They are on 14th street in Oakland, near a good Korean restaurant! Second, we went with a very traditional flute teacher of the old school, which managed to kill my daughter's interest within six months. We later discovered that Holy Names College (also in Oakland) has a very nice preparatory music program based on the Suzuki method, for strings and also for flute. (My daughter switched to violin, and has enjoyed both the private classes and group classes there). Good luck!

From: Deborah

I would think that a mass music class won't be so helpful, which would make it especially difficult in the beginning. The first few weeks of playing a flute is not easy. There is not much gratification because it is hard to even get a note out, but persevere!

I took traditional lessons from a young, dynamic teacher, and I learned a lot from her. The one-on-one attention was invaluable. I continued to take traditional lessons through the music department when I was at Stanford, and, although my teacher had much better credentials, I felt I learned more from my teacher that I had through high school. In short, rapport is very important. You might try to find someone (a student) through the music department. Even a half hour a week would help a lot.

There is a music store in Berkeley that rents instruments (in Shattuck Square, I believe).

Where to Buy/Repair a Flute

May 2009

My 4th gr. daughter has fallen in love with flute through the Berkeley Unified music program. She just completed the 4th grade curriculum and wants to work the 5th gr material through the book throughout the summer, so that she can enter the Honor Band next year. We can't afford to buy a flute or private regular flute lessons. However, we might be able to rent a flute and maybe 2-3 lessons for clarification over the summer.Does anyone have sources for an instrument and/or an instructor? Thanks so much. Andrea

My son rents his saxophone from a music company on University Avenue, a couple blocks below MLK, on the right hand side. They have been very patient with him when he has brought it in for adjustments. Forrests Music B7(510) 845-7178 B7 1849 University kl

June 2003

I have an older Artley flute that needs a tune-up. One spring is adjusted wrong so the key sticks and the pads seem to have a few leaks. I looked at the previous website recommendations and they were made in 1999 and 2001. The Fifth String (Guitar shop) used to do repairs, but I'm not sure the owner of the shop still excels at that. Does anyone have experience with woodwind repair shops in Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro? ---Barbara

Best Instrument Repair in Oakland is the best place for getting repairs - they're knowledgeable, helpful, friendly. They're in the phone book. fiona

Years ago brought my flute in to a tiny shop in downtown Oakland to be cleaned and repaired. All I remember is that it cost around $125.00 and I was later told by someone who tried to play it that the instrument was not fully okay. So I feel that my money wasn't well spent because I got the flute back not up to par. I would make sure in the future that I understand what I'm paying for and how repaired the instrument will be after the work gets done. Good luck. anon

Steve Deutsch does woodwind repair. He's got a reputation among classical musicians for quality work. I have my clarinet repaired and ''tuned up'' by him. His number is 533-6750. He's in Oakland and has his shop in his home. Sometimes he can do the work on the spot if it's a smaller job. Linda

We had minor repairs done twice at Forrest Music at 1849 University in Berkeley, near MLK. The person did a good job and was very nice. Call ahead to make sure the flute person will be in. 845-7178. Stefanie

We've had good success at Tupper & Reed (Berkeley) with woodwind repairs (two clarinets). Best Music in downtown Oakland can also handle this kind of problem easily John C Piedmont

I've gone to Best Music for woodwind purchases and repair for more than 20 years now. They're on Broadway in Oakland. I think they're top rate. I play piccolo and flute. Jennie

July 2001

I purchased a good beginner flute for my daughter 2 years ago from a mail order company, The World Wind(Phone:800-348-5003). They carry both new and used ones. I paid $340 for a new Yamaha flute, at the time a music store in Berkeley was asking $510 for the exact same flute. According to my daughter's flute teacher, Yamaha flute is the best. Good luck.


To the parent who wanted to buy a flute and get flute support: I really like Forrests at 1849 University in Berkeley. Nice atmosphere, nice place.


Re purchasing/leasing a flute: Forrest's Music on University Ave. in Berkeley, not Tupper & Reed. They'll rent, rent-to-own, etc., they know what they're doing, and they're good people. --John (father, uncle, and brother of three flutists!)

By the way, for students of woodwinds (my other daughter now plays clarinet), Forrest's Music is at 1849 University and it's nice, too.

Tupper & Reed on Shattuck is a good all-around music store.


Flute Repair

kim (12/99)
Would like recommendations for student flute repair. I called Best Instruments and Jon's Music & Repair Shop in Oakland and Forrests Music in Berkeley. Prices for complete rebuild ranged from $175 - $225. Any info on these shops or alternate places for musical instrument repair?

House of Woodwinds does good work, but it won't be cheaper. Best is fine.

I get my oboe repaired at Forrest's. It's the best place to go for for oboe repair and I would be they do a great job on other instruments.